20/04/2010

Crescent Arts Centre Restoration Complete

The newly refurbished Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast has been re-opened, following an 18-month restoration project.

The £7.2m scheme involved a refurbishment and restoration, which has preserved the exterior façade of the Grade II listed building.

The refurbished centre includes an extension that increases the accommodation by approximately 900m2.

It also comprises the reconfiguration of existing rooms, including a café area on the ground floor of the refurbished building, the installation of a lift and other work to comply with Disability Discrimination Act requirements.

NI Arts Minister Nelson McCausland, (pictured) who officially opened the facility, said: "This investment is clear evidence that the Northern Ireland Executive, through my Department, believe that the arts and the creative industries sectors are a fundamental part of our cultural identity and contribute significantly to our economy and well-being.

"My Department has contributed £4.5m to the total funding package of £7.2m to this project which has produced such tangible results."

The Minister continued: "The Crescent Arts Centre is the first of three major Capital Arts Projects in Belfast to complete.
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"The new Lyric Theatre is due for completion in March next year and work is well underway at the site of the MAC at St Anne's Square.

"The investment has not been restricted to Belfast. A number of projects in the North West have benefitted from substantial investment through the North West Challenge Fund."

Speaking at the opening, Rosemary Kelly, Chairman of the Arts Council, added: "At the Arts Council, we are proud to have invested in the Crescent Arts Centre, which can only be described as the birthplace of modern community arts practice in Belfast.

"This new Centre provides a whole new lease of life to the area, boasting a vibrant new space, with full accessibility, where people can fully participate in and enjoy the arts."

South Belfast Westminster candidate Dr Alasdair McDonnell has also welcomed the reopening: "The restoration of this landmark community arts centre has transformed this 135-year-old listed building into an impressive state of the art facility to be enjoyed by local people and tourists alike.

"There is a week long festival to celebrate the official return of the Crescent Arts Centre.

"There is something for everyone and I would urge people across Belfast to come along and get involved in one of the creative events or free classes," he said.

(NS/BMcC)

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